GOD'S WORD SAYS "BEHOLD !"
Scripture Texts: Psalms 51:5; Numbers 32:23; John
1:29; Isaiah 59:1; Revelation 3:20;
Friend, whether you're a Christian or not, you'll have to admit that the Bible is a most unusual book. It is a book which proves the eternal sovereignty of God. It is a book which tells us of man's ruin, as well as God's marvelous remedy in the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a book which has been burned and banned down through the centuries, but yet it continues to live on in the hearts of men and women all over the world today. Yes, it truly is a most unusual book, because it expresses the mind and will of our Creator, as revealed by its writers. And the Apostle Peter reminds us in II Peter 1:21, that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
Now with the imperative help of that same Holy Spirit, I would like to bring before you a particular word which is found 368 times throughout the scriptures, and which, because of its meaning, demands our undivided attention. In fact, the word itself means "to give one's undivided attention." The word to which I refer is "B-E-H-O-L-D", "BEHOLD".
Now friend, if I were to tell you to give me your undivided attention today, you would be reacting normally if you gave me a negative response, because most people do not like to do anything contrary to their own will. However, I want you to know at the outset that it is God's word, and not mine, to which I am drawing your attention in this message. And friend, if God tells you to "Behold", or to give Him your undivided attention, you would be most wise to do so. Afterall, your soul's salvation is dependent upon your faith in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we're told in Romans 10:17 that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Now then, the first "Behold" to which I would draw your attention, is found in Psalms 51:5. There David declares, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Here we have a statement which is true of everyone of us, and that is the fact that we were all born in sin and shapen in iniquity. And that simply means that we were all born with a sinful nature that is completely contrary to God. That's the reason the Lord Jesus Christ tells us in John 3:3 that "Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Furthermore, everyone of us, being descendants of Adam and Eve, has been born a sinner, and therefore we are now, or have been, in a condition of spiritual separation from God. In Isaiah 59:2, we're told that "your iniquities have separated between you and your God." Again in Romans 5:12 we read, "Wherefore, as by one man(Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
The question is asked in Job 14:4, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." Again in Job 15:14, we read, "What is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" Yes, we're sinners today because we have inherited the sinful nature of our predecessors.
Friend, please don't boast of your heritage, because if you go back far enough you'll find out that your ancestors, Adam and Eve, are the cause of all the sin, sickness, sorrow, death, and separation we have in the world today. Yes, and the only person who ever lived who was not a sinner was the Lord Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 7:26 we're told that He was, and is, "Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners".
The second "Behold" to which I would refer you, is found in Numbers 32:23, where we read, "Behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out." Friend, one of the most basic truths found in scripture is represented in this verse, because nothing is more clearly taught in the word of God, than is the fact that we've all sinned against the Lord, God Jehovah, and we can be sure that our sins will be found out. Solomon was right when he said in Ecclesiastes 12:14, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Friend, we can hide our sins from each other, but we can't hide them from God. In Hebrews 4:13, we read, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do."
Following the exposure of David's sin with Bathsheba, he cried out in Psalms 51:1-4, "Have mercy upon me, O God ... Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin ... For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. AGAINST THEE, THEE ONLY, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight ..." Friend, every sin ever committed is basically a sin against a Holy God!
Furthermore, there are many ways in which your sin will find you out, and I'll mention some of them very briefly. First of all, sin will find you out in your face. The scarlet features of the alcoholic, and the excessively painted face, and sensuous dress of the harlot, are obvious to even the most casual observer. Secondly, sin will find you out in your body. Millions of bodies are lying on beds of pain and affliction today as a result of some venereal disease. The epidemically dread disease called AIDS is spreading like wildfire in many countries throughout the world, and especially among those who practice homosexuality, which to God, is an abomination, according to what we're told in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. Yes, and many in authority, are spending billions of dollars seeking a CURE for AIDS, but rarely, if ever, do they speak about the basic CAUSE which started it all, S-I-N, SIN! As I've said and written many times, get rid of the CAUSE, and you won't need a CURE!
Thirdly, sin will find you out in your character. Truthfulness, modesty, respect, responsibility, restraint, as well as other virtues and moral fibers are destroyed by sin. Most young people today are growing up in societies where S-I-N is unheard of. When was the last time you read or heard anyone speak about SIN? Even very few so-called "men of the cloth" speak about SIN in their churches. Today, it's a philosophy of "do what you want to do; go where you want to go; say what you want to say." How sad!
Fourthly, sin will find you out in your descendants. In Exodus 20:5 we read, "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation." Here again, we're told that the results of a person's sin may be evident in their offspring, even to their great grandchildren, and beyond. Isn't it sad when babies are born with a disease such as AIDS? It happens every day! And this usually results from the multiple use of the same infected needles by those who use harmful drugs, or by one or more of the parents who were sexually promiscuous.
Fifth, sin will find you out in a burning, grief-stricken conscience. Some of you reading this have had trouble sleeping because of a tormented conscience, brought about by you remembering your past and sordid sins. Sixth, your sin will find you out in open shame before the public. Public officials, whether they are a President from Arkansas, or a Congressman from California, will be forever remembered for the terrible shame that they brought to their positions, families, colleagues, and constituents. The daily newspapers are filled with sins of gross immorality, murders, embezzlement, thievery and various other crimes against society. Finally, sin will find you out in Hell, the subsequent Great White Throne Judgment, and the Lake of Fire. Sinner friend, Hell is the "mad-house of retribution" which every sinner prepares for himself.
The third "Behold" I want you to notice is, I believe, the most important of all. In John's Gospel 1:29, we read these wonderful words, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Friend, truer words were never spoken, because the Lord Jesus Christ was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," as we're told in Revelation 13:8. And God's Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, really did die on Calvary's cross for our sins. In Revelation 5:12, we look into the future and we hear that innumerable throng singing before the throne of Deity in Heaven, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
In the prophecy of Isaiah, written over 700 years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born, we read these words in chapter 53, verse 7, concerning the coming Messiah, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." Here He was, the God-given Lamb, dying on Calvary's cross so that you and I might be bought and brought back to a new and proper relationship to His Father, God. And I thank God for the truth of I Peter 1:18,19, where we read, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Friend, if the Lord Jesus Christ was not the Lamb of God, then there is no salvation for our souls. But thank God, His Son was His Lamb, and God sent forth His Son from Heaven above, to die for our sins on the old rugged cross, at Calvary. In I John 4:14, we're told, "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." I believe that everyone reading this message is acquainted with the best known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Yes, now we know why John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
The fourth "Behold" is found in Isaiah 59:1, where we read these encouraging words of comfort and hope, to those convicted by the Holy Spirit and word of God, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Friend, in this verse we have the assurance that God is both willing and able to save those who realize that they are spiritually lost, and need to be saved. Even now, the hand of God is being outstretched in love, mercy, and grace to those of you who are still unsaved. And I don't care how great a sinner you are, or how far you've been away from God, nevertheless, His hand is stretched forth as an invitation to come to Him for salvation. Yes, and His ear, even now, is waiting to hear your cry of repentance, and acceptance of His Son as your Saviour.
Friend, you should be like the publican in Luke 18:13, who cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner." We then read in verse 14, how that the sinful publican went home justified in God's sight, in contrast to the religious pharisee who had boasted of his religious activities, morals, and culture. Yes, and the sect of the pharisees is still quite active throughout the world today. These are people who are sincerely religious, but they are trying to reach Heaven by what they do, rather than having faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done for them at Calvary's cross.
Over in II Peter 3:9, we read that the Lord "is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Again in I Timothy 2:4, we're told that God wants "all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth." Friend, God is more anxious to save your soul, than you are to be saved. Think of the wonderful words of promise by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
The fifth "Behold" to which I would draw your attention is found in Revelation 3:20, where we hear the Lord Jesus Christ say, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Friend, whether you realize it or not, the Lord Jesus Christ is knocking on the door of your heart right now. He is asking you to let Him in, so that He can become your Saviour, your Lord, and your Friend. He wants you to know that He loved you unto death, even the shameful, cursed, and ignominious death of Calvary's cross. He wants you to know that even though you've shut Him out of your life up till now, He still loves you, and wants you to trust Him as your own and personal Saviour.
We also notice in our texts that the Lord not only wants to save us from the power and penalty of our sin, but He also wants us to enjoy sweet communion and fellowship with Him. Yes, He promises never to leave nor forsake His own. He will walk beside you during all your trials and testings here on earth. And when you get to Heaven, you can sit down with Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where you'll rejoice in His presence forever, and forever, and forever. What a feast of love and fellowship that will be!
Many of you have probably seen that famous painting which depicts the Lord Jesus Christ knocking on a door. If you look closely at the painting you'll notice that there is no door knob on the outside of the door. No, the door knob is on the inside, so that the door can only be opened by the person on the other side of the door. Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ will never force His way into your heart and life. And God will never save you against your will. It's your decision entirely! In Deuteronomy 30:19, God says, "I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
That leads us to the sixth "Behold", which we find in II Corinthians 6:2. There God declares in all simplicity, clarity, and faithfulness, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; Behold NOW is the day of salvation." Friend, God gives you no assurance that you can be saved tomorrow, or at any other time in the future. In Proverbs 27:1, He warns, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." No, don't ever get the idea that you can be saved anytime you want to. There are millions of souls suffering down in Hell right now, who thought that they could be saved at a time of their choosing. The question is asked in Hebrews 2:3, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ...?" Friend, are you neglecting or rejecting God's salvation NOW? If so, you are inviting the justifiable wrath of a loving God! In Isaiah 1:18, we read, "Come NOW, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Again we hear God's warning to the Christ-rejecter, or neglecter, in Proverbs 29:1, "He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, AND THAT WITHOUT REMEDY." No, don't let anyone tell you that there is a place called "purgatory", where you go after dying, and then you wait for a so-called "second chance". Then after a season of punishment and repentance, and if your friends and relatives pay and pray enough, you'll be transferred up to Heaven. Friend, this diabolical doctrine is both scripturally and historically unsubstantiated by the word of God. Remember the rich man in Luke 16 who died and woke up in Hell? Well, he is still there, and will remain in terrible torment forever, and forever. Furthermore, I honestly believe that people are so constituted, that if they were given a "second chance" at salvation after their death, they would never accept the first chance. They would "eat, drink, and be merry", and live in sin "up to the hilt." Incidentally, do you know anyone whose relatives and friends, paid or prayed enough to get them out of the mythical place called "purgatory"? No, of course, not!
Friend, everyone in the world today is found in a very solemn verse of scripture, John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Tell me friend, in which part of that verse are you found, the first part, or the last part? Well, I thank God for the fact that I'm in the first part. Yes, back on June 2, 1952, while Chairman of the Engineering Graphics Department at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I was "saved", or "born again", by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, alone, as my own and personal Saviour. How about you who are reading this Gospel message today? Can you look back to a TIME WHEN, a PLACE WHERE, and a MANNER HOW you passed from spiritual death unto spiritual life? If not, then this may be your last opportunity to do so. God says in Deuteronomy 32:29, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" Now which shall it be -- Heaven or Hell? Friend, either actively or passively, you are making your choice for eternity right now. Please be wise!
Now then, I'd like to conclude, by directing you to one more very important "Behold" which we find in the last book and chapter in the word of God, Revelation 22:7. It is most timely and positive, because the Lord Jesus Christ declares, "Behold, I come quickly". He repeats the declaration in verse 12, "Behold, I come quickly." Then in verse 20, the last recorded words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible, is this promise, "Surely I come quickly." Yes, thank God for that "Blessed Hope" we Christians have in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The days and nights of pain, anxiety, apprehension, trials, temptations, tears, fears, sin, sorrow, sickness, suffering, and separation will soon cease to exist for the true children of God. Yes, according to what we read in I John 3:2,3, we're going to be WITH and LIKE our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the endless ages of all eternity. What a purifying hope that is!
Christian friend, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, has promised to return to take us back to Heaven with Him when He comes again. In John 14:2,3, He promises, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Yes, and throughout all eternity, we're going to sing the praises unto Him Who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own most precious blood.
Friend, the day of God's grace is quickly drawing to a close. Every indication in the world today points to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. There need be not one prophecy fulfilled, before the second coming of Jesus Christ. He could come TODAY! If not today, then perhaps TONIGHT! Tell me my friend, in the fear and presence of God, if the Lord Jesus Christ came back today, would you be taken up to Heaven, or would you be left behind for the divine judgment and wrath of a Holy God? Think about that!
Finally, let me tell you how you can be "saved", or "born again", and thus ready for your death, or the Lord's return, which ever comes first. Friend, you must believe that you're a sinner who can do absolutely nothing to save your own soul. You must repent of your sins, and believe in your heart that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, died for your sins at Calvary's cross. You must be so convinced that God has saved you, that you are willing to confess to others, both saved and unsaved, that Jesus Christ is now your Saviour and Lord.
Friend, I plead with you today, in love for your soul, and in view of the vast eternity just ahead, that you "BEHOLD" the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, bearing away your sins in His own body on the cross. If you'll do that right NOW, the word of God, which cannot lie, says that you'll be saved, not only for time, but thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, my friend, this is for eternity! YES, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY!
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk